Of My Sister, the Serial Killer Book Review

November read for The Harare Book Club

My Sister, The Serial Killer

My Sister, the serial killer

My Sister The Serial Killer is a debut novel by Nigerian Oyinkan Braithwaite which was been longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, won the Anthony Award for best first novel and a string of other accolades.

Oyinkan Braithwaite
Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer is being translated into 30 languages and has also been optioned for film.

My, Sister the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a crime thriller tale about a nurse, whose sister’s love interests have a nasty habit of winding up dead…. Three, and they label you a serial killer

The story is narrated from the point of view of Korede the older sister.

Have you heard this one before? Two girls walk into a room. The room is in a flat. The flat is on the third floor. In the room is the dead body of an adult male. How do they get the body to the ground floor without being seen?
First, they gather the supplies…
Second, they clean up the blood…
Third, they turn him into a mummy…
Fourth, they move the body…
Fifth, they bleach.

The Good

Its an easy read, somewhat hilarious tale. Oyinkan employs a terse, expressive almost poetic structure with equally short chapters. I was intrigued by the contrast between the two sisters, one a nurse, saving lives the other, well, a serial killer I guess. They were complete opposites from body types, where one was all curves and the sharp angles to their temperaments.

While the book is a light read, it still makes subtle social commentary and has some underlying heavy themes such as abuse, domestic violence while taking a swipe at colorism and pretty people privilege.

The Bad

There book plays on some usual stereotypes, corrupt police, people only liking outward beauty and lighter-skinned people considered more beautiful. But then again it’s a reflection of how society is.

I also didn’t quite find satisfaction in the ending, unless we are being primed for a potential series.… hmmm Sisters Who Kill *hint hint**

The Ugly

For a book titled My Sister, the Serial Killer one would have expected a bit more in the serial killing department or something more spine chilling… but this book is more about how to clean up after a murder and just like bleach is great for cleaning blood, My Sister, the Serial Killer is really a book about the bond of sisterhood.

A drama comedy… can we call it a dramedy?

Final thoughts

I chuckled out loud as I read this book and did not put it down till I finished reading, the 240 pages just breeze right past. In an interview for BBC Africa Book Club Oyinkan mentions that she did not set out to write a funny novel but only found out from the reviews that people found the book funny.

I vaguely recall someone telling me that the funniest things happen when you aren’t trying to be funny and this book will have you laughing about murder. If anyone ever said murder can be fun, I would not have believed it.

17 Comments

    1. 🤣🤣🤣 right!!! they say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but imagine if the book lettering had been a red and drippy blood font… Too much? 🤔
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was disturbed by this book thought i deeply loved it. I was worried because they glided over murder as if its something light. The sister kills and the big sis cleans up and life goes on as usual. I wondered whether Ayoola was disturbed by the murders?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. interesting thought Racheal, I thought so too and attributed it to that we dont actually read about the murders and dont quite get what exactly drives the sister to kill, we only getting a second hand experience from the big sis, who is concerned about protecting her sister than having untainted hands.
      ~B

      Liked by 2 people

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